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I'll have to ask around, but a couple years ago there seemed to be some self-segregation, i.e., even though a 3rd tier facility had gotten digital equipment, it was left from first run plays because the chain it was owned by didn't want to disturb the way things were at the time. (They also owned competing cinemas in towns not far away.) These deals are also part of the negotiations between distributors and exhibitors, whose dealmaking (as I'm sure you know) makes the Classic Steve Jobs iTunes/Music Industry story pale in comparison.

But you are correct, if the exhibitors can figure out the method(s) to market to their multiple audiences, they can keep their rooms full in a lot of interesting ways. Instead of being empty during a week when there is heavy sports, there is no reason that they can't make deal that puts sports people into seats...especially in the facilities that get a license to serve beer to the sports patrons and Champagne to the Opera goers. And in America, they can film, and sell the rights to, the fights that break out between the 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin fans and the Traviata fans...maybe even pipe the fights around the country live.

In the states the early complaints were that no one cared and that digital didn't put any butts in seats. But in Italy where I installed a lot of early systems, the cinemas figured out how to educate and inform their audience to the point that I saw kids telling parents that they would come back the following week when the digital print of a movie was coming in...and the cinemas with digital were achieving 4 and 5X the patrons than cinemas in the same village who they normally split patrons with at 1:1.

The technology for all those subtitle concepts, and movies bleeding in from different markets, are possible but 'works in progress' as well. The methods for handling them in the projection room are available in concept, but need to be smoother. And the people at the deal-making side need to apply the First Rule of Einstein Marketing Theory - Imagination is more important than knowledge. They have to get beyond everything that has been tried and failed in the past.

I will also poke around and see if there are announced plans for 3D sports from the Olympics. You might be right; the theater experience might be better than the home or bar experience for some Olympic events.

As I will detail in the Part II, 1) there are some not so obvious problems in presuming that a 3D big screen event and 3D TV event can use the same material, and 2) The market will be changed by then. Certainly there has to be some long-term thinking to BSkyB's decision to unilaterally go into 3D before a market exists. And technology problems like different convergence points for different seating considerations can be solved with even more technology if given enough time and dosh.

There was an experimental Usian Bolt 3D piece that was shot (at great expense) after the last Olympics that turned out absolutely brilliant. There was an experiment shooting the Running of the Bulls that was not so brilliant, but which exposed a lot of the problems. (Such as there is little natural 3D past a certain distance, so you have to shoot close, and that you can't make fast cuts, especially when the focal point is at different distances, without making the audience confused (at best) or sick (at worst.) Last month there was some successful and well received live 3D basketball games broadcast to theaters and to cable. So, it will march forward.

There are hundreds of technical papers on 3D, but a good synopsis of  concepts is served up in the center column named "3D Helpings" at The Schubin Cafe Mark Schubin blends experience, knowledge  and a writing style that gives me hope...if I work at this for several life-times.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:53:30 AM EST
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